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Салагаева Изабелла

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Grow where you are planted. (Proverb)

The city of Nizhny Tagil is situated on the river Tagil among the hills cov­ered with forests, on the east slope of the Ural Mountains, at approximately 20-25 km distance from the conventional Europe-Asia frontier and 200 km above sea level. Its geographical coordinates are longitude 60 degrees East and latitude 58 degrees north.

The city outskirts are picturesque. To the east there are boundless hills of the Middle Urals; to the west one can observe wonderful mountain scenery - individ­ual peaks and mountain chains stretching from north to south. Among them are river valleys and large low lands. According to the geographical position the district may be divided into two zones: the west highland and woodland and the east woodland and meadow land. The average height of the mountains is 400-500 m and only a few tops are higher, such as Starik-kamen (753 m), the mountain Belaya (711 m). The district has continental climate with abrupt fluctuations in day and night, summer and winter temperature. There are no great waterways in the district, but it abounds in small rivers and streams. The largest of them is the river Tagil which flows in the river Tura. Water reservoirs - ponds - have been created by man on many rivers of the dis­trict.

The district of Tagil is rich in minerals and natural resources. Geologists and chemists have found more than 60 elements of the Mendeleev periodical table in local ores and rocks. The outskirts of Nizhny Tagil have a reputation of being exceptionally full of the mineral resources necessary for life. The real treasure of the district is iron ores. The unique deposit of magnetic iron ore was found in 1696 in the mountain Vysokaya. The today largest iron ore deposit of Tagil district is Kachkanar.

In the 19lil century in Nizhnetagilsky mining district as well as all over the Ural the abandoned gold and platinum fields were found.

The district is famous for its semi-precious stones like topaz, aquamarine, quarts, rock crystal, amethyst, but of course malachite stands out in beauty and popularity. Malachite is a beautiful and original stone with a wide range of green hues and tints - from bluish to almost black with extraordinarily exquisite design.

Malachite was known even in the 18th century, but "the malachite era" didn't start until the early 19th century when the first rich copper deposits were found. In 1814 they discovered copper in Mednorudyansk. The Mednorudyansky pit was also full of malachite. The largest malachite monolith in the world was mined there in 1835. its weight was about 5 tons. Huge pieces of that monolith weighing 300 kg and 500 kg are now exhibited in the Nizhny Tagil Museum of the History and Regional Studies. Later there even appeared malachite interior: the Demidovs had a malachite hall built in their house in Petersburg in 1836. "The Malachite Hall" of the Winter Palace in St.-Petersburg is faced with the Tagil Malachite. The Tagil malachite was also used in the construction of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St.- Petersburg.

Near Nizhny Tagil archeologists have excavated a lot of relics which tell us about the beginning of the ferrous metallurgy in the Ural region, going back to the 1st millennium B.C. Melting spots were located in high places, on capes and moun­tain tops. For example on the high rock Laisky cape an expedition found the re­mains of 11 smelting furnaces. They could produce steel knives, swords and ar­row-heads.

The first settlement on the river Tagil was founded by the Russians who were led by Ermak. On the way to Siberia they stopped on the left bank of the River Tagil opposite the Medved-Kamen Mountain. The 18th century began a new era in the history of Russia. The epoch of Peter 1 became a turning point for the history of the Urals.

Peter I paid attention to the rich ore deposits on the Tagil River. The first Ural plants were built near such sources of ore. So in 1702 according to Ukase is­sued by Peter I a rich Tula blacksmith Nikita Demidov got the license to manage the plant on the Neiva River and to build new plants on the Tagil River where the magnetic ores were deposited. Nikita Demidov founded and built a copper smeltery on the river Viyia in 1720. The first blast-furnace was initiated on October, 8 1722. The first and the largest blast-furnace in Europe on the Nizhnetagilsky plant was started later in De­cember, 1725. The Tagil blast-furnaces became the most efficient in Europe and the iron labeled "stary sobol" - the best in the world. High quality iron from Tagil and Neviansk was bought by many European countries and America. Demidov's workers mainly came from serf-peasants, some were civilian workers.

By the 19lh century Nizhny Tagil had turned into the largest mining and iron producing plant in Russia. It was not only a plant; it was the capital of the huge Nizhnetagilsky mining district. The district consisted of several plants, dozens of iron and copper mines, platinum and gold mines, piers as well as 18 villages and 7 settlements with the population of 50 thousand serf-peasants.

Nizhny Tagil has been famous for its highly-qualified craftsmen since the 18th century. By 1859 the population of Nizhnetagilsky and Viysky settlement had reached 25 thousand people.

The reform of 1861 led to the development of capitalism and a quick rise of productive forces, technological progress in the Tagil plants was accelerating. There appeared the first coal-burning kilns in the world, new techniques in copper and iron manufacture. It was then that the Tagil metal got a reputation of one of the best in the world. As a result of the workers strike of 1889 an 8-hour working day was introduced. The workers' wages rose.

In 1929 Stalin put forth the idea of total collectivization and liquidation of the kulaks as a social class. In 1930 it was decided that 300 kulaks farms were to be driven off Tagil district. At the same time 10 train-loads of kulaks dispossessed and driven from the North Caucasus and Kurgan district were taken in to settle in Tagil district. People in exile became the main work force at the construction of giant industrial enterprises such as the Nizhny Tagil Iron and Steel Plant and the Ural wagon Plant. They took on the hardest jobs possible. In the summer of 1933 Nizhny Tagil as well as the Urals suffered a great shortage of food supply as a re­sult of the dispossession of the kulaks. The death rate was higher than the birth rate. There appeared a lot of homeless children at the age from 4 to 11. The life condition and school instruction eventually created "a new type of man". In the period of 1932-36 Stalin took drastic measures to exterminate all those whom he thought to be his enemies in the party. This process was called "clearing". Nizhny Tagil suffered greatly too. The number of party members re­duced significantly, all of them were accused of sabotage and claimed to be "class enemies". 18000 people were expelled from the town party organization, the total number of which had previously been 48000. In 1937 number of arrests was in­creasing rapidly. How many people were imprisoned or killed, is still unknown.

The beginning of World War II brought great changes to Nizhny Tagil. Like all industrial cities of the country, Nizhny Tagil had worked for the victory. Its population increased in the first war months from 150 to 500 thousand, as about 40 factories and industrial institutions were evacuated here, their staff immediately beginning to organize production in Nizhny Tagil.

Already in December 1941 the city sent to the front the first trainload of T- 34 tanks, which were later acknowledged as the best tank of World War II. Not only did the people of the city work at the factories, there were also a lot of build­ings under way.

In 1960ies the explicit Stalin terror was replaced by the hidden terror, con­centration. Those who were not enthusiastic about "the communist tomorrow" were under suspicion. The largest group which was subject to repression was the so-called dissidents. Nizhny Tagil remained the place of exile and imprisonment. In 1992 the city had 7 penitentiaries.

The city was still growing. From 1946 to 1956 the residential districts of the city, the beautiful buildings of the Palaces of Culture and the Drama Theatre were built. The enterprises of Nizhny Tagil developed. The new machinery, technolo­gies were being introduced.

The history of Nizhny Tagil is closely connected with the life and activities of the Demidovs - the founders and the owners of Tagil works. The forefather of this family, Nikita Demidovich Antufief (Demidov) (1656-1725), was a Great Rus­sian smith and armourer. He was respected by Peter I for his extraordinary skill and wisdom. Nikita Demidovich was a very efficient and industrious person. But this man was also known as a cruel exploiter. He worked hard himself and at the same time his requirements towards the others were rather high. Up to the end of his life he didn't accept any ranks or rewards from Peter I.

Akinfy Demidov, a son of Nikita Demidovich, also possessed a merciless character. Not only peasants but also people of higher ranks suffered from his utter strictness. A famous Nev’yanskaya tower had become a symbol of the Demidovs’ evil deeds. Akinfy Demidov was one of the greatest Russian works owners who left no stone unturned widening his power in the Urals. His iron will and inexhaustible energy helped him to succeed in works industry. Akinfy was an expert in metallurgy, a skilful smith and a foundry worker. Due to his energy and persistence twenty-five new works had emerged in the Urals and Siberia.

Nikita Demidovich and Akinfy Nikitovich were the most prominent repre­sentatives of the Demidovs. Their descendants were educated people but they led and idle life. The major part of their time they spent in Moscow, St.-Petersburg and mostly often abroad. They visited their works not more than once or twice in their lives.

None of them except for Nikita Akinfievich had gained the same fame as their ancestors had. As for Nikita Akinfievich (1714-1789), his contribution to the development of Russian industry includes three new works built in the Urals. Nikita Akinfievich Demidov was also known as a patron of scientists and artists. He wrote a book "Account of a Travel" in 1786, was in correspondence with Vol­taire, and established a prize of the Academy of Arts - a medal "For Achievements in Mechanics".

Another famous people, which are closely connected with N. Tagil are Cherepanovs, father and son. The names of Tagil mechanicals Yefim Alexeevich and Miron Yefimovich Cherepanovs occupy a prominent place in the history of Russian technique and machine building. Yefim Cherepanov began his career as an ordinary worker of this plant at the age of fifteen. Being very talented and skilful he became soon a mechanician and later, a chief works' mechanical of Nizhnetagilsky mining district.

Yefim Cherepanov shared his knowledge and experience with his son - Miron. Actually, Miron Cherepanov was his father's right hand. Together they built a steam-machine in 1820, which was the first one in the Urals. Later all the works and mines of Tagil district were equipped with the steam-machines. For this inven­tion Yefim Cherepanov was rewarded a Silver Medal in 1833. Russian and foreign scientists appreciated the construction and the functional characteristics of this ma­chine. But the real fame came to the Cherepanovs with the invention of the first Russian railway steam-engine in 1834. The working model of this steam-engine was exhibited in the Tagil Mining Museum till the beginning of the 20th century. Then it was delivered to St.-Petersburg and was exhibited in the Railway Museum.

The Cherepanovs contribution into the development of mining technique and railway transport is great. Thanks to their efforts, a system of theoretical and prac­tical training of the qualified workers had been established in Nizhny Tagil. In honor of their glorious deeds a monument to the Cherepanovs had been erected in the centre of the town.

The Khudoyarovs are famous all over the world. Creation of the Tagil serf-artists provoked a great interest. The remarkably painted iron caskets, trays, paintings by the Khudoyarovs, Dubashikovs, Perezolovs are kept in the museum. The paintings of the Khudoyarovs are in the number of the original exhibits of the Urals folk art. The forefather of the Tagil painters family was Andrey Khudoyarov (1722-1804). He had his own workshop where he painted iron objects. His mastery was inherited by his sons: Fiodor and Vavila. They skillfully painted the palaces in Moscow and St. Petersburg. All the four generations of the Khudoyarovs were rather talented peo­ple. But the most gifted of them are Fiodor's three sons: Pavel, Isaac and Stepan. They present the first generation of the family's professional painters. Like their ancestors they painted trays, caskets, churches but what's of really great value, it is their pictures.

The major part of them is on production and everyday life themes. The mu­seum contains such famous pictures as "Sheet-Hammering Shop" by Pavel Khudoyarov, "Public Merry-Making at the Lisya Mountain" by Isaac Khudoyarov. The picture "Mednorudyapisky Mine" is painted by Vassily Khudoyarov - a representa­tive of the 4th generation of the Khodoyarovs. The Khudoyarovs made a valuable contribution to the culture of the Urals.

The city of Nizhny Tagil has its cultural life, but unfortunately it is not very rich. Although there are three theatres (the Drama Theatre, the Puppet Theatre and the Municipal Theatre), a circus, several cinemas and clubs, four palaces of culture, some museums, a few palaces for children and youth's creative activities, many libraries and parks in Nizhny Tagil.

The Nizhny Tagil museum of the History and Regional Studies is one of the oldest in the Urals. Its foundation date is considered the year of 1837 when the "Plant Museum" was mentioned in the list of different enterprises and establish­ments of Nizhniy Tagil district.

The Nizhny Tagil Museum of Fine Arts was founded in and nowadays it plays an important part in the cultural life of the city as it has a rich collection of paintings by famous artists of the past and today's talented artists. All major art exhibitions are held there.

The Drama Theatre is one of the most interesting theatres of the region. Thanks to the gifted actors, actresses and directors, the repertoire is varied, but un­fortunately not many young people visit the theatre.

The Municipal Theatre is very young and the plays staged there are usually very bold and special. It is situated on Vagonka. My school №70 was placed on the opposite side of the road. There are many performances are held during the year in this theatre.

The Nizhny Tagil Museum of History and Regional Studies is one of the most interesting and original museums of the Urals. It is also one of the oldest in the Urals. The Nizhny Tagil Museum was opened in 1840. Its foundation was pre­ceded by an exhibition prepared specially for the future Emperor Alexander II's arrival to Tagilsky works. Plans and models of the works' mechanisms were pre­sented at that exhibition. Almost simultaneously with the exhibition it was ordered to establish a Mu­seum of Arts. Thus in 1840 the museum was first mentioned in the list of different enterprises and establishments of Nizhny Tagil district. The first exhibits included the implements applied in composing topographic maps, a collection of rocks, a herbarium of plants, stuffed birds.

On June 6, 1891 by a special command all the collections and objects from the Museum of Art were given to the new one - Mining Museum. In contrast to the first museum, the Mining Museum became a public one with free admittance. Among the exhibits of museum there was a part of private collection of the Demidovs - well-known manufacturers. This collection included paintings, sculp­tures, books in Russian and foreign languages, collection of medals and coins, "the ore pyramid", portraits and busts of the Demidovs. At the end of the last century D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak, V.P. Nemirovich- Danchenko, D.I. Mendeleev and many other writers and scientists were among the visitors of the museum.

During the 1908th economic crisis, manufacturers stopped financing the mu­seum and it was liquidated. The museum was revived only in 1924. Since this time great work, including thorough collecting and persistent search, has been done by the museum staff and its assistants. The Nizhny Tagil Museum has been turned into a large depository of the material history, a research, scientific, and educa­tional establishment of the Urals.

In 1987, on the basis of the Nizhny Tagil Museum of regional Studies and its branches, and of the stopped shops of Nizhnetagilsky, Nizhnesaldinsky and Kushvinsky works the Museum Reserve of Mining in the Middle Urals was estab­lished.

The Nizhny Tagil Museum Reserve contains the richest collection of the ex­hibits, which reveal natural riches of the region, characteristic features of history and culture of the city and its modern face. More than 300000 items are presented here. The major part of them is the works of the Tagil craftsmen. A prominent place among these works is occupied by Yegor Kuznetsov's invention - "Astronomical clock" made in 1775. The preserved mechanisms dem­onstrate extraordinary inventiveness and a witty combination of automation and astronomy. The clock showed the position of the Sun, phases of the Moon, months, date, year, the saints corresponding to every day.

Education in old Russia was the privilege of professional workers. The first Nizhny Tagil educational institution was founded in 1806 by the Demidovs. It was Vyisky factory school which gave primary education to its learners and later in 1850 it was transformed into the secondary vocational school in which serf work­ers got professional training. The school combined in its curriculum general educa­tion and vocational training with emphasis on mining and metallurgy.

The first school for workers' children appeared in Nizhny Tagil in 1830. It was a church-parish school for boys only. In 1835-36 more schools of that type, alongside with some comprehensive schools were opened in our town. Pupils re­ceived 3 rubles a year if they learned reading and writing, 4 rubles a year who learned arithmetic, 5 rubles - wood and metalwork, technical drawing, 6 rubles - architecture and mechanics. Besides the money grants they were provided with some food and some outfit. Every pupil got the outfit for a period of 3 years: a caf­tan, a sheepskin coat, a hat, 2 pairs of boots, 2 shirts and trousers. In 1853 Anatolyevsk vocational school for girls was founded in Nizhny Tagil. The limited school curriculum for girls included religious knowledge, reading, writing and arithmetic. Originally they were supposed to be trained as professional workers'.

In conclusion I’d like to say that Nizhny Tagil is and had always been a very big industrial centre of our town, which faces a lot of different problems during many centuries. One of them is the state of our ecology. Much money is spent on the protection of the environment. Many foreign specialists from the USA and other countries take part in our health programs. We hope that someday we’ll cope with these problems and we’ll breathe with fresh air, drink clean water and see tidy and cosy streets and houses. N. Tagil my native town and I really proud of fact that I was born in it.